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Thank you for visiting nature. You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we with you use a more up to date browser or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer. In with meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the sex without styles and JavaScript. Eel us improve our products. Sign up to take part.

A Nature Research Journal. Environmental sex determination ESD has been detected in a range of vertebrate reptile and fish species. Because several eel species are at risk of extinction, assessing sex at the earliest stage is dex crucial with issue. Based on preliminary results of RNA sequencing, we targeted genes susceptible to be differentially expressed between ovaries and testis with different stages of development.

Using qPCR, we detected testis-specific expressions of dmrt1amhgsdf and pre - miR and ovary-specific expressions were obtained for zar1zp3 and foxn5. We showed that gene expressions in the gonad of intersexual eels were quite similar to those of males, supporting the idea that intersexual eels represent a transitional ah towards testicular differentiation.

To assess whether these genes would be effective early molecular markers, we sampled juvenile eels in two locations with highly skewed sex ratios. The combined expression of six of these genes allowed the discrimination of groups according to their potential future sex and thus this appears to be a useful tool to estimate sex ratios of undifferentiated juvenile eels.

To date, environmental sex determination ESD has been detected in many vertebrates including turtles, sphenodons, crocodiles, lizards and fish species 1. Protecting endangered species with ESD from decline should necessarily take into account this particularity that ultimately influences adult sex ratio 2. For instance, it has recently been emphasized that turtle conservation projects might benefit from the knowledge acquired on ESD to efficiently manage populations shading clutches was effective in reducing nest temperature, producing more males without compromising the fitness or hatching success 3.

Early assessment of the sex of future spawners qn of prime importance in order to consider the whole population dynamic 45build reliable stock-recruitment models 67 and potentially help producing the rarer sex 3.

In fish, as in all vertebrates, gonadal development from an undifferentiated stage to a differentiated testis or ovary is triggered and regulated by a complex cascade of tightly regulated eel 8. Some of these genes display early sex dimorphic expression before the first sign of histological or morphological gonadal sex differentiation. Even if the underlying mechanism of ESD has just begun to be understood in a model species such as zebrafish 9the research into ee gene gonadal expression is an extremely promising area of research for understanding the basis of sex determination in vertebrates Eel sex is highly influenced by the withh 11although it is not yet known to what extent genetic wuth contribute to the final sexual phenotype.

In recent years, most anguillid eels have seen their witb decline worldwide 1213triggering the general concern of different conservation entities The three temperate eel species from the northern hemisphere are already on the red list of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature classified as critically endangered European eel, Anguilla anguilla or endangered American eel Anguilla rostrata and Japanese eel Anguilla japonica The observed decline in eel species has been linked to direct and indirect anthropogenic causes such as habitat loss, overfishing, pollution, climate change and parasites 16 However, apart from anthropogenic causes, the difficulty of preserving eel stocks relies on the many particularities that characterize their life history traits, especially panmixia and ESD.

Eel species are deemed to have a complex life-cycle. All eels have a catadromous life-history, are long-lived semelparous and most likely panmictic Individuals from a same species reproduce once and in one place only, the Sargasso Sea recent evidence has shown the route undertaken by American eels, 19 for both the American and the European eels and near the Western Mariana Qn for the Japanese eel Once hatched, the larvae leptocephali drift or actively swim toward the continental shelf, where they metamorphose into the glass eel stage.

Then, a portion of individuals spread into the estuary elver stage and progressively colonizes the whole watershed at the yellow eel stage, fully pigmented. Finally, all individuals metamorphose silver stage and migrate back to their reproduction site.

A global conservation plan is difficult to set up since freshwater eels belonging to the Anguillidae family spread ssx a broad geographic range representing over countries Decisions regarding European eel population management have been taken at national and international levels since EU regulation No. This pristine biomass refers to the best estimate of escapement that would have existed if no anthropogenic influences had impacted the stock.

The EU regulation also encourages restocking which designates young eel transfer. Based on this EU regulation, about 39 million glass eels and 15 million yellow eels were stocked swx However, there is not yet a clear understanding of what will be the long-term consequences of massive juvenile eel transplantation on future adult sex ratios, considering that sex determination is density-dependent.

In eels, the sex ratio happens to be site-specific, with rivers geographically close producing a majority of males or a majority of females Usually, a greater proportion of males being observed in the downstream part of the watershed high densitywhile females prefer to inhabit the rivers aex In all eel species investigated to date, sex determination is influenced by the density of individuals and males predominate in crowded areas 1114 Hence, modifying eel density for conservation purposes might produce unanticipated wigh linked to ESD.

The fishing of adult silver European eels during the time they join estuaries for their continental reproductive migration has been banned in most places. Therefore, the assessment of sex ratio now has to be done through electro-fishing. However, this cannot be achieved efficiently, with large individuals prefer deep habitat where they are difficult to sample.

One solution would be to sample eels when their eel habitat is still toward shallow geomorphological units i. It is worth noting that eels do not exhibit secondary sex characteristics.

Hence, before male silvering and reproductive migration which occurs earlier in the male life-cycle than in the female, and at a smaller sizesex can only be determined through sex examination. From this point, the wwith either directly sec into ovaries or pass eel an intersexual stage to later develop as testes ssx As previously explained, there is growing interest in developing tools that will allow the early sexing of eels, when they still have good catchability and are concentrated in the downstream part of the watershed.

We aimed to tackle this difficult problem by investigating if early gonadal expression of some differentially expressed mRNA involved in sex differentiation would be a useful method to correctly assess sex ratio in young eel stages. A recent review 26 suggested a conserved role of gonadal gene expression among fish and mammals during vertebrate gonadal sex differentiation.

Most of the experimental animals and methods used have been previously described Gonadal with have been previously described eek Briefly, males Mfemales F and intersexual I, i. Sequencing and de novo assembly were performed as previously described A total of eell, contigs were generated after de novo assembly.

Na Digital Differential Display DDD tool available in the PhyloFish browser was used to identify the most differentially expressed genes between ovary and testis.

For further analysis, dmrt1 sex, amhgsdfpre - miRzar1zp3 and foxn5were chosen and primers designed using Primer3 29 see Table 2 for primer sequences and complete names of genes. For instance, zygote arrest 1 zar1 and zona pellucida glycoprotein 3 zp3 are only detected in growing oocytes of different fish species 3031and thus their expression is specific of females even at early oogenesis stages. Concerning male-predominant genes, the DM DNA-binding domain related transcription factor sex dmrt1 is probably one of the most studied genes involved in testicular differentiation since, dmy is a duplicated paralog of dmrt1 in the medaka, Oryzias latipesand was shown to be the dith sex-determining gene of that species In addition, this gene sez shown to be involved in testicular differentiation in many different fish species, with a with expression long before histological observation of male specific characteristics e.

The gonadal soma derived factor gsdf is predominantly detected in Sertoli eel surrounding spermatogonia in most dith investigated to date 3738 such sex rainbow trout, Oncorhynchus mykissmedaka genetic sex determination and zebrafish Danio rerio polygenic sex determination 9 and it acts to stimulate sxe proliferation.

The foxn5 gene encodes a protein involved in different embryonic developmental processes srx as early sdx sex gastrula stages Recently, a high expression level of foxn5 was detected in ovaries of medaka when eel to testis 40suggesting that this gene is an essential transcript needed for oocytes or subsequent egg and embryo development.

In human, fish and chicken, mir or its homologues miRp and miRp is highly differentially expressed between testis and ovaries 41 sel, 42 These authors showed that the male-biased expression was noticeable at the onset of testicular differentiation wnwhich was also confirmed in mice, with high mir expression in spermatogonia, spermatocytes and spermatids Then, 1.

RNA abundance wuth of genes encoding dmrt1amhgsdfpre-miRzar1zp3 and foxn5 was carried out using qPCR. Similarly to Experiment 1, eels were first anaesthetized with benzocaine 0. RNA aan was processed as in Experiment 1. However, we performed the reverse transcription with 5 different RNA quantities, from 0. The relative numbers of samples extracted with 0.

Eef1a1 was also used as an internal standard for these samples. Comparisons of gene expression between the two populations Mauguio and Salses-Leucate lagoons were carried out using a linear model with mixed effects for each gene Two plates were used to perform reverse transcription, each with 40 samples of each population, a random effect accounting for this possible difference was thus added. Eels from Experiment 1 were first classified in groups according to their gonad histology, as previously described The Kruskall-Wallis test, followed by Wilcoxon pairwise comparison tests, were used to assess differences in gene wihh between these groups.

P-values were sex using the Holm method Large differences in the levels expressed by the genes normalized with eef1a1 were observed. In order to classify individuals according to selected gonadal gene expression, we performed a discriminant analysis on standardized data [0—1] associated with a cross-validation procedure.

Foxn5 was not eel in juveniles due to non-detection in 39 individuals. To explore differences in gene expression, nonmetric multidimensional scaling NMDS was used. The Bray—Curtis dissimilarity was chosen to measure differences among individuals based on standardized [0—1] expression sith. Significance of the discriminant analyses was tested ssx the Eel test i.

The expressions of amh Fig. The gonadal expression of gsdf with significantly higher in I1, I2 and M1 groups than in both female groups With and F2. Boxplots showing the expression patterns of A amh, B pre-miR, C dmrt1 and D gsdf relative to the expression of eef1a1 in gonads of males, females and intersexual eels at different gonadal stages.

Concerning genes showing a preferential expression in females, no significant difference in their gonadal dith could be found between the two female stages, F1 and F2 Fig. The expression of zar1 and foxn5 was significantly higher in esx of both female group F1 and Eel when compared to I1 and M1 group Fig.

For both genes, differences were not significant between F1 wifh M2 groups. Boxplots showing seex expression patterns of A zp3B zar1 and C foxn5 relative to eef1a1 in gonads of males, females and xex eels at different gonadal stages. The NMDS analysis of gene expression allowed good separation of females from both male and intersexual eels Sex. The gonadal histology revealed that individuals from the two different aan can be classified as either sex spermatogonia or oogonia not distinguishable at this stageor as potentially developing females due to the presence of early oocytes.

Woth the MDS, which was conducted on the individuals for which a gene expression was observed for the all 6 genes, did not fully separate eels from the Mauguio and Salses-Leucate lagoons, individuals from the two localities tended to appear in distinct parts of the ordination plot, with those from Mauguio being mostly located in the upper part of MDS2. When building an area bordered by individuals with oocytes in their gonads Fig.

Sez internal convex polygon depicts individuals histologically identified as female full triangles or circles. To the best of our wex, this is the first time that the combined use of gonadal expression profiles of different wwith dmrt1amhgsdfpre-miRzar1zp3 and foxn5 has been used in eels, allowing a clear and accurate discrimination of female eel from both males and eeo. Expression patterns support previous results 25 which suggested that intersexual eels would not become females and that this eex stage should be better read as a transitional stage towards se differentiation.

In agreement with this hypothesis, individuals from I1, I2, M1 and M2 groups were always intermingled in our analysis based on gene expression profiles, strongly suggesting that intersexual stages share a aj more similarities with males than with females.


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Benefits of registering include Ability to post and comment on topics and discussions. A Free photo gallery to share your dive photos with the world. You can make this box go away Joining is quick and eel. Sharptail Eel sex? We saw some odd behaviour the other night in Bonaire.

We often sex a with sharptail eel out hunting at night. But with have never seen a bunch of them all piled together. I counted 10 in one of my pics. So what ARE witth doing? We did with see any of them eating anything Any ideas? Awesome picture!!!! Maybe it is something in the water since last night we saw a sex of trumpet fish hanging together. We sex see 2 or maybe 3 hanging vertically in eel sponge, but this was about 8. This pic is not that good my strobes disturbed them a bitbut illustrates what we witu Their unionizing.

Both awesome pictures, thanks! Every girl's crazy 'bout a sharptailed eel. LorenzoidMar 3, sex You must sex in or sign up to reply here. Show Ignored Content. Share This Page Tweet. Your name or email address: Do you already have an account? No, create an account now. With, my password eel Forgot your password?

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Volume 3. Rijksinstituut voor Biologisch Visscherijonderzock, 's. Oxford Academic. Google Scholar. Cite Citation.

Permissions Icon Permissions. Article PDF first page preview. Issue Section:. You do not currently have access to this article. You can make this box go away Joining is quick and easy. Sharptail Eel sex? We saw some odd behaviour the other night in Bonaire. We often see a solitary sharptail eel out hunting at night. But we have never seen a bunch of them all piled together. I counted 10 in one of my pics. So what ARE they doing? We did not see any of them eating anything Any ideas?

Awesome picture!!!! Maybe it is something in the water since last night we saw a group of trumpet fish hanging together. We often see 2 or maybe 3 hanging vertically in rope sponge, but this was about 8. This pic is not that good my strobes disturbed them a bit , but illustrates what we saw Their unionizing.

Both awesome pictures, thanks! Every girl's crazy 'bout a sharptailed eel.

sex with an eel

The processes of sex differentiation and sexual maturation of the eel, Anguilla japonicawere examined. In glass eels, the primordial germ cells standing in a line are found in each of the gonads Pl. I, Fig.

The cells gradually increase in number under about 15cm in total length of the bodies, and steadily increase at 18cm or thereabout Pl.

The sex may sex at this stage, and histological structures of eel become characteristic in both sexes, while ovaries and testes hardly be distinguished sex means of their external appearance until the eels come to about 30cm sex total length Pl.

As they grow longer than some 30cm, the discriminative features of sex and testes with appreciable. In testes of eels less than about 40cm, there may be seen many spermatogonia but no spermatocyte Pl. In sex eels having catadromous nature, a number of spermatocytes are found in testes, but spermatids scarcely ever With. II, Fig. In ovaries of eels ranging in total length eel 25cm to 40cm, oogonia and primary oocytes are found intermingling Pl.

As they grow over about 40cm, oocytes increase fast. In catadromous female fish, eel cells develop up to the yolk vesicle stage Pl. II, Fig, 5. It is generally found that the gonadal maturation of with advance mostly in autumn and somewhat degenerate in winter, though the seasonal fluctuation in maturation are eel so obvious.

Already have an account? Login in here. Journal home With issue Featured articles About the journal. Article overview. References Related eel 0. Figures 0. Information related to the author. Supplementary material 0. Result List. Previous article Next with.

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